Two days after Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced the NDA government’s decision to auction 12 small oilfields of Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) – an ally of the BJP in the state – has opposed the decision and asked the Centre to reconsider the move.
“We are against privatization of any oilfield of the state. This decision goes against the wishes of the people of Assam who had only two months ago voted the BJP-led alliance to power in the state. Privatisation of the oilfields takes away the people’s right over the state’s resources. We appeal to the Centre to reconsider the decision,” AGP general secretary Kamala Kanta Kalita said here on Monday.
- Assam: Protests mark JPC hearing on Citizenship Bill
- Will revoke land notification, claims Sena minister; CM Fadnavis says not govt’s decision
- Assam: 11 parties join hands to protest against oilfields auction
- Stir against Assam oilfield auction affects OIL, ONGC operations
- Bandh against oil fields auction cripples life in upper Assam
- Bid for 12 small oilfields to roll Rs 4,000 crore in Assam: Dharmendra Pradhan
Kalita also said that the AGP stood for strengthening PSUs like Oil India Ltd and ONGCL so that these government companies could acquire better technology to explore the 12 oilfields that they had discovered and were still holding with them. “The best way out is to strengthen Oil India Ltd and ONGCL and let them acquire better technology to explore these so-called unviable oilfields,” Kalita said. The AGP, which had won 14 seats in the recent Assam assembly elections, has two ministers in the Sonowal cabinet.
Senior AGP leader and former party president Brindaban Goswami too opposed the centre’s decision. “I personally feel that the oilfields should not be handed over to private companies through auction. There are many government companies. Even the Assam government has a couple of companies that should be able to explore these oilfields,” Goswami, currently AGP legislator from Tezpur said.
Another senior AGP leader and Guwahati (West) legislator Ramendra Narayan Kalita said handing over the oilfields to private companies would amount to betrayal of the people who had only recently voted the alliance to power. “The people will feel betrayed,” he said. On Monday, the Congress and AIUDF too expressed their opposition to the decision.